Deciding to change your company’s domain name can be a difficult decision. You’ve likely established your business with the old name for months or even years – sometimes even a decade or more. It’s printed on all the business cards and brochures and even incorporated into video and digital advertisements. However, it’s often well worth the effort, especially if you’ve thought of a new domain name that’s shorter, catchier and likely to lead to more visitors.
Consider the Switch for a While
Before you switch, check available domain names and make lists of multiple new names that suit your business. Sometimes, it’s actually better to focus on popular keywords related to your industry than to use your company name. For example, if you sell pet supplies, but your business is called “Smith and Sons’ Pet Supplies,” switching from smithandsons.com to something like cheappetsupplies.com will actually lead to more website visits. Discuss the switch with a team of employees and, if you have the time, do some market research into what people think of the various options. Because domain names are so affordable, it makes sense to buy multiple names you’re considering so they’re not bought up in the meantime, and you can simply fail to renew the ones you don’t pick in the end after a year.
From now on, use the new domain name in all advertisements and printings. However, because the old site name is used in multiple sources, continue to pay for the rights to it for several years and simply redirect visitors to the old site to the new one. Remind visitors to change their bookmarks for the first few months at the top of the page.
Keep the Design the Same – for a Short While
To assure visitors they haven’t made a mistake when visiting the new domain name or being redirected to it, keep the look of the site the same with just the domain name changed throughout. In a few months’ time, it may be the right moment to update the design, but don’t attempt both a new design and a domain name change at the same time.
With the right hosting program, switching domain names is easier than you might think. If you really doubt your ability to handle the transition because you’re too busy, consider hiring professional web designers and website management teams. However, it’s easier than ever to design your own website and keep costs down if you’re on a tight budget with affordable, easy-to-use templates and web hosting.